Best Online Master's in Social Work

Updated November 2, 2022

Earning a master's in social work online can lead to a meaningful career working directly with individuals, children, and families.

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Online Social Work Masters Programs

Earning a master's in social work online can lead to a meaningful career working directly with individuals, children, and families. During an online social work degree, students learn to diagnose behavioral issues, advocate for at-risk communities, and help individuals and groups manage challenges in their daily lives. With a growing number of families falling into poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the social work field will need more experienced professionals to support struggling communities. 

Online MSW programs are a flexible route to meaningful work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects faster-than-average job growth for social workers from 2020-2030. The median annual salary in 2020 was $51,760.

Our list ranks the best online MSW programs. Future online MSW students can use this ranking to find the right program for them. This article also introduces social work concentrations, licensure requirements for sreocial workers, and common social work careers.

Featured MSW Programs

What Is an Online Master's in Social Work?

An online MSW program trains students in areas like social welfare policy, social work research, and clinical social work. Many online MSW programs offer concentrations in children and families, school social work, or social work administration. The degree builds strong interpersonal, research, and analytical skills.

Pursuing a master's in social work online allows enrollees to complete practicum requirements in their local areas. Completing an MSW degree online generally takes two years for full-time students, though some programs offer an accelerated option. After earning an online MSW, graduates can apply for social work licensure and pursue employment in the field.

The Best Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of social work degree at the University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles, prioritizes flexibility. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the social work program. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in social work. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants without a social work background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Type of school: Private not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Program name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Average Tuition
In-state
$57,256
Out-of-state
$57,256
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
48,321
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

The Ohio State University

  • Columbus, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Columbus, The Ohio State University hosts a top-rated online master of social work program. The master of social work helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to social work. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in social work or a related field.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

The Ohio State University at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 54%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,560

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $35,144

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,197
Out-of-state
$31,174
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
61,391
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online social work program. The master of social work program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on social work. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a degree in social work or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

University of Central Florida at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 44%

Total Online Master's Programs: 26

Program name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,916

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,759

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,478
Out-of-state
$19,810
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
44%
Students Enrolled
69,402
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

Yeshiva University

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Yeshiva University, located in New York, enrolls master's students in its online social work program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the online MSW program. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in social work. Learners specialize the degree by choosing from a variety of electives. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in social work before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

Yeshiva University at a Glance:

Type of school: Private, not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 55%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program name: Online MSW

Graduate Tuition In State: $34,800

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $34,800

Average Tuition
In-state
$42,200
Out-of-state
$42,200
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
5,357
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

Tulane University

  • New Orleans, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tulane University offers an online master of social work. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the online MSW program. After completing a master's degree, candidates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum explores social work research and methodologies. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in social work or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Tulane University at a Glance:

Type of school: Private, not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 13%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program name: Online master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $54,918

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $54,918

Average Tuition
In-state
$52,760
Out-of-state
$52,760
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
13%
Students Enrolled
12,923
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Tampa, the University of South Florida offers an online master of social work. The online advanced standing MSW program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in social work. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a degree in social work or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

University of South Florida at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 48%

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program name: Online advanced standing MSW

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,350

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,048

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
44,246
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

Boston University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of social work at Boston University, located in Massachusetts, prioritizes flexibility. The online MSW program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in social work. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The master's program builds on prior social work experience during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with experiential learning opportunities in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Boston University at a Glance:

Type of school: Private not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 19%

Total Online Master's Programs: 24

Program name: Online MSW

Graduate Tuition In State: $54,720

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $54,720

Average Tuition
In-state
$54,720
Out-of-state
$54,720
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
19%
Students Enrolled
33,720
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#8 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

  • New Brunswick, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in New Brunswick, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey hosts a top-rated online master of social work program. The online master of social work program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants without a background in social work may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 61%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $17,736

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $30,144

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,230
Out-of-state
$29,012
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
50,173
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Edinburg, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an online master's in social work. The master of science in social work program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on social work. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants with prior experience in social work or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program name: Master of science in social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,959

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,555

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,664
Out-of-state
$16,792
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
29,113
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Master’s in Social Work

California State University, Northridge

  • Northridge, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of social work program, offered by California State University, Northridge, ranks as a top program in the field. Graduates train for leadership roles while earning their degree from the master of social work program. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to social work. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in social work.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to participate in networking events to grow their professional connections.

California State University, Northridge at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 59%

Total Online Master's Programs: 7

Program name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
39,910
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured MSW Programs

Choosing a Master's in Social Work Online Program

When researching online colleges, prospective applicants should consider factors like cost, MSW program length, and specialization options. Rather than comparing tuition rates, candidates should research the total cost. This includes fees, the total number of credits required, and textbook prices. Some programs offer accelerated options, which can mean tuition savings.

MSW students should also research the graduate placement record and field experience opportunities. Online programs often connect distance learners with local opportunities. Some programs have larger placement networks than others. By researching these factors, social work students can find the program that best suits their goals.

Accreditation for Online MSW Programs

Prospective students should always choose accredited MSW programs. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits schools of social work, including online programs. Only a CSWE-accredited degree meets the requirements for a social work license. As a result, attending an unaccredited program will limit a social worker's career options.

In addition to checking program accreditation, applicants should see if the school has regional accreditation. Some institutions have national accreditation, which doesn't meet the same standards as regional accreditation when it comes to social work degrees.

What Can I Expect When Pursuing a Master's in Social Work Online?

Degree-seekers enrolled in a master's in social work online can expect to take classes in social justice, social work practice, and social welfare policy. Additionally, social work students often choose concentrations to prepare for specialized career paths after graduation. Online learners must often complete in-person requirements for practical experience.

Social Work Curriculum

Social Work Concentrations

Aging

This concentration prepares students for careers working with older adults. Coursework covers services aimed at aging communities, social justice issues for older adults, and program development. Core topics include healthcare, memory care, and elder abuse. Graduates are prepared for clinical roles or policy-making positions in aging services organizations.

Children and Families

A children and families social work concentration examines mental health among children. Students learn to assess children, provide early intervention services, and offer clinical treatment for children and families. The concentration emphasizes mental health support, protective factors, and risk factors.

Clinical Social Work

This concentration trains social workers to help people facing mental and emotional challenges. Learners examine counseling practices, including methods of identifying and evaluating challenges and both individual and group treatment approaches. They also explore behavioral issues, professional challenges, and family conflicts. Graduates can pursue careers in clinical social work.

Community and Social Systems

A community and social systems concentration focuses on macro-level social welfare organizations. Students examine social systems to identify potential improvements or policy needs. They also learn to conduct macro assessments and evaluate social problems. The concentration prepares graduates for roles in social work policy-making and social welfare institutions.

Forensic Social Work

This concentration uses social work tools to address problems in the legal system. Forensic social workers represent clients within the justice system, acting as consultants or advocates in legal settings. A forensic social work concentration includes training in the criminal justice system and social services that connect to the legal system.

School Social Work

A school social work concentration examines the barriers children face in school settings. The concentration trains MSW students in issues like homelessness, violence, truancy, and challenges related to special education programs. Degree-seekers learn to work with different student populations and design student support systems in schools


Advanced Standing MSW Programs

A student with a bachelor's in social work from a CSWE-accredited program may receive advanced standing status in an online MSW program. This allows them to graduate more quickly. Typically, an MSW takes two years of full-time study to complete, but advanced standing programs usually allow students to graduate within one year.

Social Work Licensure and Certification

Social workers pursuing clinical social work, school social work, and similar fields need licenses. Each state issues its own social work licenses and sets specific licensure requirements. Generally, a licensed social worker (LSW) needs an MSW and must meet supervised experience requirements. Some states only require a bachelor's degree. 

Social workers licensed in one state can often apply for a reciprocal license in other states, but it isn't automatic. They may need to meet additional requirements. Learn more about social work licensure from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensing guide.

Social Work Jobs and Salaries

Marriage and Family Therapists

Median Salary 2020: $51,340 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 15%

Marriage and family therapists help families overcome challenges, including personal relationship problems, life changes, and mental health struggles. They work with individuals, couples, and families to help clients process life changes and make decisions about their futures. Marriage and family therapists also refer clients to relevant community resources and services, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities.

Strong interpersonal communication skills help marriage and family therapists support their clients. Marriage and family therapists typically hold master's degrees in social work or psychology. In every state, marriage and family therapists need licenses to practice.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Median Salary 2020: $55,690 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 4%

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists help incarcerated individuals access social services and reintegrate into their communities upon release. These professionals work with probationers, parolees, and pretrial defendants. After evaluating clients, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists design a course of rehabilitation. This can include referring clients to services like job training or substance abuse counseling.

Most probation officer and correctional treatment specialist positions require at least a bachelor's degree in social work. A master's degree qualifies candidates for advanced roles.

Social and Community Service Managers

Median Salary 2020: $69,600 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 15%

Social and community service managers oversee social service programs. They identify the need for programs and services; plan and implement programs; and analyze program effectiveness.

Most managerial social work jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. Some employers prefer candidates with master's degrees or years of professional experience in social services.

Social Workers

Median Salary 2020: $51,760 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 12%

Social workers assist clients with mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. They connect clients to community resources, provide counseling services, and treat mental health issues. Social workers can specialize in niche areas, like school social work or healthcare social work.

Many social workers need master's degrees. Clinical social workers must hold MSWs and have two years of supervised experience.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Median Salary 2020: $47,660 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 23%

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors help clients manage mental health and behavioral challenges. They evaluate clients' mental and physical health, develop customized treatment plans, and help patients modify behaviors. These counselors may also make referrals to social services and conduct outreach programs to educate the public.

Most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors hold bachelor's degrees, while mental health counselors typically need master's degrees.

Featured MSW Programs

Ask a Social Worker

TheBestSchools sat down with social worker, Anne Inwood to discuss how she chose to pursue a master's in social work and give advice to prospective students.

Portrait of Anne Inwood

Anne Inwood

Anne Inwood works at Successful Families Together, where she provides parent coaching, parent support and resources, and parent education. She helps families create successful routines and provide therapy and counseling. She has an LCSW and a master of science in child development.

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

What was your favorite aspect of earning a master of social work degree?

When I was earning my MSW, I was able to have first-hand experience working with families in various situations while learning and working under regular supervision. I had group supervision in my courses with a professor and other students, which meant we could all learn from each other and our experiences. I learned from my internship experiences as well as the experiences of my peers.

What should students interested in social work be good at?

Students studying social work should be able to have meaningful and critical self-reflection. Social workers need to be able to reflect on who they are and how their values and beliefs impact how they work with their clients. These beliefs and values may be ingrained in who a social worker is even if it's not readily apparent to them.

Social workers interact with a variety of clients who hold beliefs that can range from extreme on either end of the spectrum to more in the middle. This means that a social worker needs to be able to respond to clients with dignity and respect, no matter how similar or different their belief systems are.

This does not mean that social workers need to change their beliefs and values for a client, but they do need to be aware of what these are to make it easier to respond appropriately to clients from a variety of backgrounds.

What makes social work a popular field for online study?

Social work is a field that can be filled with nontraditional work hours, which also include being on call. This can make it more difficult to have courses at the same time each week as they may not be as confident of what their schedule will look like from week to week.

While there may be some specific times for course meetings, online learning can be more flexible in terms of when the student needs to be online, as long as assignments are submitted on time. It can also provide a more varied experience for students as they can learn from the experiences their peers are having in a variety of communities and environments.

Are there any advantages to studying social work online as opposed to in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting?

In an online program, you can interact with students in a variety of states. By contrast, while students from a brick-and-mortar setting may come from various locations, they are not having their internship experiences from a variety of states.

While the Code of Ethics provides social workers with the same ethical code, this does not mean that states have the same resources and laws. I am currently teaching in an online social work program, and students are able to learn about the variety of different social work experiences — such as hospice, child welfare, and inpatient programs — and they are able to see how different laws and regulations also impact social work. It is a valuable learning experience to see the role that advocacy can play in the field.

What makes social work such a versatile and meaningful degree?

Social work provides theories and ideas around clinical skills and providing therapy and counseling, but it also helps people learn who they are and the ideas around interacting with others. These attributes are important for everyone.

Specifically, how does a therapist help clients to know and understand themselves and their passions if the therapist is not clear on who they themselves are? If someone does not know who they are and what values and beliefs they have, how can they work effectively with others when their beliefs differ?

All of these skills can transfer to other fields and professions and are especially valuable when interacting with a client who may or may not share the same beliefs or life experiences.

Common Questions About Social Work Degrees

Which State Has the Highest-Paid Social Workers?

Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Georgia report the highest annual mean wages for social workers.

How Hard Is A Master's in Social Work?

MSW programs can be very challenging, mentally and emotionally. MSW programs train social workers in social welfare policy-making, social work research, and clinical social work, which can all be technical. Students must also complete an internship or practicum, which can be emotionally challenging. Driven, compassionate students will thrive in an MSW program.

Can You Get Your Master's in Social Work Online?

Yes. Many top-ranked social work programs offer online MSW programs. In an online setting, learners complete coursework in a distance learning format while meeting in-person clinical requirements through local mental health organizations.

Should I Get a Master's in Social Work or Counseling?

An MSW and a master's in counseling prepare graduates for different careers. A counseling degree emphasizes counseling techniques and theories, while a social work degree takes a big-picture approach. Social workers provide a range of services within the social work system, while counselors typically work directly with clients.

How Long Does an MSW Take to Complete?

Two years for full-time students, including internship requirements. Some programs offer accelerated options, which enable students to complete their degrees in less time. Applicants must already have a bachelor's degree.

Featured MSW Programs

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